From the Teach-In: Innovation tips from our participants


At our sold-out Teach-In gathering last month in Boston, we asked participants to pair up and share with each other a piece of wisdom about doing new things in established companies. The catch: it had to be succinct enough to fit onto a Post-It.

Here are a few of our favorite Post-Its from what turned into an amazing “wall of advice.”

• Make innovation part of the company’s DNA: leadership support, empowerment, celebrate results.

• Get diversity of talent on your innovation team.

• Find passionate, poly-skilled people.

• Real-world pilots require a test environment.

• Get out — use external spaces for events, and engage with customers face-to-face.

• Have three key metrics you can explain in an elevator or in a few minutes to communicate impact.

• Fall in love with the problem, not the solution.

• Innovation isn’t only about the product.

• Educate executives upfront on what innovation is, why it’s of value, and how they’ll benefit from dedicating their resources to it.

• Start small. Think big! Don’t scale too soon.

• Innovate by visioning. What would it feel like walking a new employee around the company in five years?

• Beware of financial metrics too soon.

• Bring the business units that will benefit along in the innovation journey.

post-it-featured• Acknowledge your lack of knowledge and go find the people you need.

• Innovation can be viewed as a tumor or a fetus: How will your corporation treat it?

• Start small and collect small, impactful wins.

• Treat [your project] like an early-stage, cashless startup.

• Monetize innovation by building it into [executives’ and employees’] bonus.

• Don’t stop at ideation. Have a plan to scale and grow.

• Get buy-in from the top as well as the bottom.

• Separate research from development.

• Don’t be afraid of “the complainers.”

• Embrace the feedback. Don’t take it personally.

• Don’t underestimate passion.

• Collect and leverage project information to better guide future projects and decisions.

• Use clients/customers to push your innovation agenda.

• Be persistent.

• Make friends everywhere; networking internally and externally is an imperative.

Do you have a Post-It length piece of advice to share? Post a comment below, and we hope to see you at a future Innovation Leader gathering! Next up is San Francisco in February 2017.


Our Next In-Person Event:
Startup Engagement: Best Practices for Large Organizations
Download PDF »
Season 2, Episode 7: Inside the Silicon Valley's Innovation Culture
Listen »

Share this article:

See more articles about:

  • Strategy & Governance
  • Comment on this article

  • Click here to join the discussion